A first-rate Hollywood entertainment–at least if one can accept the schizophrenia of combining a cop/buddy action thriller with an angry satire about the shamelessness of the media. I didn’t much care for writer-director John Herzfeld’s previous outing, 2 Days in the Valley (1996), and I suppose it could be argued that the shotgun marriage he performs here between somewhat contradictory genres smacks of cynical contrivance. But the jabs against various kinds of TV excess work much better for me than the diatribes of Network a quarter of a century ago–perhaps because they’re less self-righteous and more conducive to reflection. (The title is derived from Andy Warhol’s line about fame.) And some of the action sequences–notably a chase on foot through busy Manhattan traffic and a couple caught in a burning apartment–work surprisingly well. The plot pits a media-friendly cop (Robert De Niro) and a younger fire marshal (Edward Burns) against a newly arrived Czech murderer, who’s figured out ways to turn the absurdities of this country’s laws and media to his advantage, and his dorky Russian sidekick, a film freak who compulsively videotapes everything. The adroit storytelling keeps one alert throughout the movie’s two hours. Century 12 and CineArts 6, Chatham 14, City North 14, Ford City, Gardens, Golf Glen, Lawndale, Lincoln Village, McClurg Court, Norridge, North Riverside, 62nd & Western, Three Penny.

–Jonathan Rosenbaum

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